Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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REES , THOMAS ( 1825 - 1908 ), minister (CM) ;

b. 2 Aug. 1825 in the schoolhouse at Defynnog, Breck. , son of Morgan Rees , schoolmaster of the free school , and Margaret , daughter of David Jones , shoemaker . As a boy he attended Brychgoed (Congl.) chapel with his mother and was educated at his father's school and Ffrwd Fâl Academy under the tuition of William Davies ( 1805 - 1859 ; DWB , 159) who became the greatest influence on his life. He returned home when he was 16 and immediately started preaching by holding meetings at neighbouring farms . He lived at Tredegar for a time and became a member of Salem (CM) , Sirhowi . Following the death of his sister in 1843 and his father in 1844 he returned to Defynnog and was chosen to be one of the early pupils at the Calvinistic Methodist College at Trefeca when he studied under David Charles ( 1812 - 1878 ; DWB , 72) . He was ord. at the Association in the South in Llanelli 4 Aug. 1852 and began his ministry in Hay . He returned to Defynnog in Aug. 1853 and became minister at Crickhowell from Dec. until 1868 , living at 4 Tower St . In the following period he did much of his early writing whilst awaiting another ministry. In Nov. 1872 he became minister of Pontmorlais Church , Merthyr Tydfil , having by this time become a highly regarded member of the Calvinistic Methodist Church .

In 1873 he delivered the address on ‘ The nature of the Church ’, in 1883 he delivered the charge to the ordinands, 1886 he was Moderator of the Association in the South and in 1893 Moderator of the General Assembly . He retired in 1888 to devote his time to the Church and to writing . He was author of two biographies: Cofiant y diweddar Barch. Ebenezer Williams, Aberhonddu ( 1882 ) and (with D.M. Phillips ) Cofiant a phregethu y diweddar David James, Llaneurwg ( 1895 ). Several volumes of his sermons were published and he was a contributor to Y Traethodydd , Y Drysorfa , Y Cylchgrawn , The Treasury and The British Quarterly Review . Dr. R. Tudur Jones said of him that ‘ he was a man of considerable learning and a distinguished figure amongst Calvinists ’. He received the degree of D.D. , New York , in 1894 . He was described by a contemporary as a powerful preacher , a strict teetotaller , ‘ a bit of a wag ’ and a kindly man.

He m., 4 Nov. 1852 , Sarah Williams , Glanyrafon , Llangors , and they had six children. He d. 8 June 1908 at his home, Ty'n-y-garn , Cefncoedycymer and was buried at Cefn Coed cemetery . His library was valued at £1,000.


  • Blwyddiadur y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd , 1909 , 253-4;
  • Y Drysorfa , 1895 , 145-8, 1908, 433-6.


Ivor Glyn Rees, Hawarden

Published date: 2001